You’ve worked hard to establish a thriving and successful brick and mortar (physical) business. But the potential of leveraging online marketing and tactics has you intrigued. As well it should.
Over 81% of consumers being their buying research process by conducting a web query, and with Google being the 800lb giant in the digital world, you would be downright negligent to not at least consider leveraging online marketing tactics to support and grow your business.
Let’s look at some simple online marketing tactics you can use to drive traffic to your physical location or drive more sales through digital mediums…
1. Organizing events – with an online twist!
Hosting events on things that your followers are interested in is a great way to get a lot of people to show up. Even if your product provides so much value that it practically sells itself, you should still provide context and let your customers know what your business does, what it stands for, and it’s various missions and views.
This becomes even more important when selling otherwise lackluster items such as office supplies or industrial equipment.
You have a couple options here. One, you can leverage social media, email campaigns and other digital advertorial mediums to improve visibility and awareness of the event. This can greatly improve your reach.
Alternatively, you can take a new approach and offer a “digital event” in the form of a webinar where participants can join in at their leisure from the comfort of their own home. Webinars are simple and highly effective mediums for businesses to connect with their audience. Consider offering a giveaway or some value add for those that show up and also for those that stay the entirety of the event (your webinar software will record this for you).
If you pull off the event properly, you’ll be able to turn online subscribers into flesh-and-blood customers who are walking through your shop’s front door. The event doesn’t even have to be related to the product or service that you provide. If your demographic research shows that most of your potential customers are model plane enthusiasts, host an event centered around that.
You could also find ways to organize events that are relevant to your business niche but still provide value to the attendants. If you run a gardening tool company, give a seminar on new gardening tactics that your customers can use in their homes.
Teaching customers is a good way to establish your business as an authority in its niche and will help you with brand engagement and customer loyalty.
2. Limited Time & Special Offers – Email your way to more sales
Sure, it’s not the most glamourous online marketing tactic, but it works. Period. Don’t believe us? Salesforce reports that for every $1 invested into email marketing the busienss can expect an average return of $38. For those of you bad at math, that’s a 3,800% ROI.
Consider user engagement triggers such as:
- Sending a coupon when a user abandons an online shopping cart
- Cross promoting items to users based upon previous purchases
- Sending coupons, special offers, promotions and giveaways
In addition to “triggers”, we suggest you also segment your emails into relevant profiles. For example, you may want to segment males vs females, families vs single individuals, or based on purchase behavior.
Studies by Mailchimp have shown that businesses that segmented tehir email data earned, on average, 14.64% higher email open rates and almost 60% more in-email clicks on links.
3. Google My Business (GMB)
One of the most powerful online marketing tactics a brick and mortar business can leverage is Google My Business, or GMB. GMB is a free service offered by none other than Google themselves.
With GMB you can claim and optimize a business listing for your company or brand, highlighting your services, providing relevant and engaging images, allowing you to solicit and proudly display reviews, and provide a simple contact method for your prospects to reach you.
Remember, over 81% of all consumer based purchase decisions (even those that end up buying locally in store) begin first online. In fact, research from Google shows that businesses leveraging GMB earn 29% higher visibility in searches and 60% more clicks, not to mention over 60% of visitors to GMBs end up visiting the physical location of the brand within the next 72 hours.
4. Sell to your Customers Where and When they Want
Some customers enjoy placing orders online even if they plan on claiming the items at your physical location. For instance, if you offer made-to-order textiles, you could save money on shipping by letting customers pick up their orders right at your store. It also saves you money on man hours since you won’t have to package the item.
Major retailer Kohl has begun leveraging this click-and-collect model and has since seen a revival of their formerly-dying brick-and-mortar locations. If they can do it, you can too. It’s also a proven fact that once a customer enters your physical outlet, they become more likely to do business with you in the future as they feel committed to your brand.
5. Facebook Ads
A decade ago, no one would’ve guessed that advertising on social media platforms would yield any meaningful results, yet, here we are, an age where social media marketing plays an instrumental role in most — if not all — marketing campaigns that we see today.
With the amount of data that Facebook collects on its users — too much if you ask me — it’s possible to bring ads to a level of targeting never before seen in the business world.
If you conduct proper demographic research, do some split testing, and run the right ads, you could reach thousands — if not millions — of people a day without spending the equivalent of Tuvalu’s GDP ($38 million USD — the lowest GDP out of any country.)
Just be sure to flesh out the details before spending too much money on your ad campaign or you could quickly exhaust your marketing budget without having much to show for it.
Online retailers like Amazon have made it harder than ever for brick-and-mortar shops to thrive in this world filled with Gen Y/Z’ers who want nothing more than a quick add-to-cart process. That said, if you utilize a few of the marketing tactics listed above, you can still get your piece of the pie despite the efforts of big business to dominate the market.
The sooner you get your brick-and-mortar shop into the modern world, the better.